The funny thing about Jamaican families is they seem to have been everywhere with lives that ought to be made into biopics. My family at least would randomly drop stories that could have been headlines. My dad did it all the time, he’d casually say he made eye contact with Winston Churchill when he visited Kingston or my uncle would say he saw Bob Marley on the Central Line and nodded at him. Last year I had cousins visiting from Jamaica and Baltimore in the US. Aunt Beryl sat on the couch and told me (unprompted) about meeting Castro. She wasn’t bragging, she was talking casually. The energy of that conversation stayed with me for a week and I had to write it out so it could live as she spoke it.
Aunt Beryl Meets Castro listen listen, you know I met Castro in Jamaica in 77’ mi work with government under Manley yessir you should’da seen me up in mi younger day mi give Castro fl owers a blue warm warm welcome to we and mi know people who nuh like it who say him should stay smokin’ in him bush, our water and wood nuh want problem with dat blaze, but Castro, him understan’ the history of dem who harm us, who make the Caribbean a kind of mix up mix up pain. Me believe him come to look us black people in the eye and say we come from the same raymond antrobus 73